The stresses of crowdfunding | Gallery Drinkware (Formerly Water Gallery)

Gallery Drinkware (Formerly Water Gallery)

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The stresses of crowdfunding

If you've ever launched a crowdfunding campaign (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.), you know what I'm talking about. The weeks, if not months, of planning. The obsessing over wording your project perfectly (not too long, not too short, to-the-point, clear, what details to make sure you include while leaving unnecessary ones out), making sure you have the best possible photos, trying to save money while putting out a good video (video is crucial, but if you spend $10,000 on a video, what's the point of crowdfunding?), and so forth. Reaching out to bloggers, influencers, press, newspapers, friends, family, colleagues...hoping that you are going to get enough support to ensure that your project doesn't fall flat. And this is all before your project even "goes live!"  

The crowdfunding struggle is real

Then it's launch day. You've been working for weeks upon weeks to get ready for this. You've been filled with hope, anticipation, excitement, fear, anxiety, trepidation...all of the above. And it's all culminating now. You probably haven't slept well the night before, ruminating over how the big day is going to go. You're now sitting at your computer, ready to click the launch button, palms sweating, stomach roiling, and it feels like your business/idea/concept/life rests upon this one moment. So you click the button and you're off. Maybe the orders start piling in. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones whose project is specific enough to have a specialized publication pick it up and highlight it on your launch day and your project starts to spread rapidly. Or maybe your friends and family come in like lions and flood your project with pledges right away, giving you and the Internet algorithm a boost of confidence in your campaign. Or maybe your start is slower, tick-tick-tick, an order every 20 minutes or so for the first few hours as you check your phone obsessively.

Crowdfunding experiences can be vastly different for people in very similar positions...but for EVERYONE embarking upon a crowdfunding campaign, the struggle is real. The stressors are potent. The work the campaign entails is massive if you're going to give this thing a fighting chance. And for most of us, the vulnerability is the hardest part-- you're sticking your neck out, putting yourself out there for the world to see. Sacrificing a little bit of your perceived "dignity" every hour of your campaign by asking your treasured friends and family as well as your acquaintances, co-workers, and even strangers, to put their faith in your project, a project that essentially represents who you are and everything you've worked towards. You know, no big deal.

It's not easy. But hopefully in the end it's worth it...because you'll never know unless you try. And if you don't try, you have no chance of succeeding. The bottom line is, it's hard to crowdfund. It's, at times, embarrassing. And humbling. You will probably lose sleep and perhaps you'll be grumpy with the people you love. You'll feel incredible, immense, and heartfelt gratitude towards the people in your life who step up to support you, both monetarily and emotionally, during this stressful and vulnerable time. You'll try to thank them and won't even be able to communicate strongly enough how much their pledge means to you. You'll feel frustration when people don't step up and when you don't get the press you hoped to get (not surprisingly, publications rarely highlight the average crowdfunding campaign). You'll often wonder if you made a mistake by even taking this on. But with each passing day of your campaign, despite moments of disappointment and fear of failure, you'll feel a sense of forward-movement, of exposure in a PRODUCTIVE way, and of hope. Your hard work is out there for the world to see, warts and all, and there's something powerful in that.

To all of our fellow crowdfunders, hang in there. And best of luck. You're not alone in everything you're feeling and experiencing. You're working hard, you're taking a risk instead of playing it safe, and we're proud of you. 

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